In a history making ruling, the Supreme Court officially ruled against the controversial Defense of Marriage Act citing it as being unconstitutional and conflicting with he 5th amendment.
A 5-4 split decision, the ruling now makes same-sex married couples eligible for federal benefits in the 12 states which recognize them.
“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled of recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
On the other end, Justice Antonin Scalia offered, “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.”
The significance of this ruling is made greater by a lawsuit filed by 83-year-old Edie Windsor who was made to pay over $300,000 in estate tax that she would not have had to pay after the death of her wife, had her spouse been a man and not a woman. With more than 1,100 tax provisions still in affect that list marriage status as a determining factor, this is definitively one of the strongest points for those in support of the marriage equality movement.
Despite the overwhelming outcry for equal rights its beyond apparent that this is still a polarizing issue. With New York’s Gay Pride festivities kicking off this weekend this will definitely add a heightened sense of celebration to all the events. However, the win is still bittersweet. As outlined in the ruling, this new eligibility is only applicable to the 12-states that RECOGNIZE same-sex marriage. It’s 38 states remaining the journey ahead is long and winding. But today, hope was born.